Security at Ports and Borders has become a serious issue, and last year all vessels were required to put in place The International Port and Ship Security Regulations, as agreed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO an organisation of the United Nations).
Security matters are now being highlighted with respect to Cargo, and South Africa is embarking on a process of bringing all RSA Ports into line with Durban where security issues on cargo have been tighten to the extent that no cargo moves unless it is Manifested, and cargo movements can only take place with Customs agreement, and a large proportion of containers will in future be X-Rayed. This initiative is now being heavily backed by the South African Revenue Service.
In recent months we have found that goods which should have been manifested as cargo or small parcels have been delivered to the RMS’s berth (particularly in Cape Town) and said to be for an SHG Department or some ‘On Island’ individual. Items have not been declared to RNC Ships Agency Services, they have no Shipping Orders (Customs movement export authorisation). Frequently we do not know where they have come from and in some cases have been addressed to a crew member, to take care of and effect delivery at St Helena, such as the Chief Officer, or Chief Engineer.
Further, that without a declaration of what the goods are or packages contain we could be seen as putting the vessel at risk from terrorist attack. There is also an issue of who is paying the freight on such goods and the correct declaration and paper work to go with any International Maritime Organisation deemed Dangerous Goods. Un-declared, or incorrectly declared goods (including Small Parcels) could lead to problems with our insurers in the event of an accident or Dangerous Goods incident.
In view of the possibility of detainment of the RMS St Helena and fines by Customs of any country, as well as the Marine Safety Agency of that Country, leading to a permanent public record of Regulation violation see www.parismou.org, and www.equasis.org we must advise that unless all cargo is booked (either as full paying freight or via the Small Parcel Service) with the port agent concerned and correct paper work completed, it will not be carried or allowed onboard.
We would ask you to advise all on St Helena who may be shipping goods on the RMS that these requirements are now in place and any un-declared cargo which therefore cannot be manifested will not be accepted onboard. We are obligated to advise St Helena Customs of what cargo is Manifested so that appropriate duty can be collected on St Helena.
As you are aware the crew of the RMS have always had a concessional allowance of cargo space for the period they are actually serving on the vessel (not whilst on leave). They have been advised by us that if they receive parcels for other people they could well suffer disciplinary action, and possibly lose their entitlement.
There is also the matter of collecting all the freight that is due from individuals and on island entities for the credit of St Helena.
The above is currently in force, and we would confirm that any cargo or small parcels which are not formally declared to our cargo booking agents at the load port (regardless of the shipper, freight forwarder or individual) will not be loaded onboard and will be left on the quay.